Book Review: Two Historical Mysteries

*originally published on 04/19/2016

51QOqpu0beL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_THE BACHELOR GIRL’S GUIDE TO MURDER (Herringford and Watt Mysteries:#1) Written by Rachel McMillan

2016, 289 Pages (Harvest House Publishing)
Genre: historical mystery, female detective

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY) 

Rating:★★ 

When I saw this vintage-like cover I stopped…and when I read the synopsis of two single women in 1910, in Canada (Toronto) I hovered over the Read Now button on NetGalley.  Reading on – these two women were abandoning the husband hunt for solving mysteries.  Click and done. Merinda and Jem are flatmates and best friends and also women version of Holmes and Watson.  As I started to read I found myself losing the dazzle.  I did finish the book but skimmed some pages just to get to the end.  And several days later I could not really tell you much about the book.  I think it was a matter of high expectations on my part.  I think the constant reminder that Jem and Merinda should be looking for husbands but were not was too much.  Also, the mystery seemed more like a side note to the plot.  Instead of a historical mystery it seemed like a historical romance – that it focused more on not looking for men or husbands but focused on a romance anyway.  I also lost my curiosity in finding the murderer. I am wondering if the novel was edited and maybe that is where some issues l I think, for me personally the novel did not work so I am not going to continue the series unless a book friend reads on and loves it.  There is also a novella, A Singular and Whimsical Problem, which is slated for a prequel but reviews on it state otherwise.  

 

DesignForDyingCoverProofJanuary2016_feature.jpgDESIGN FOR DYING (Lillian Frost & Edith Head Mysteries:#1) Written by Renee Patrick

2016, 320 Pages (Forge Books)
Genre: historical mystery,  classic Hollywood, female detective

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY) 

Rating: ★★1/2

I was not sure about this book.  I love the Golden Age of Hollywood and interested in Edith Head’s design BUT as a detective? Yet, I was curious to see how Head would be involved and interested in the story and Lillian Frost as a character.  Lillian Frost like many in her generation (1937) headed to Hollywood after winning some pageant contest in their hometown.  Instead of dream of being an Actress, Lillian wants to work at Paramount behind the scenes.  At the moment she is living on her own and working at department store.  When her old friend, an inspiring actress, Ruby Carroll is found dead Lillian finds herself a suspect.  When she discovers that the dress Ruby was wearing was stolen from Paramount she goes to Edith Head to confirm.  Soon the two women find themselves looking into the murder.

I really enjoyed this novel…it is light, funny and entertaining.  The references to actors, actresses, directors, movies, etc were interesting.  I found myself looking up people and incidents on Wikipedia while reading.  I also liked the relationship between Edith and Lillian and Lillian’s budding romance with the homicide detective.  I recommend this novel to anyone who likes classic Hollywood, mysteries, historical mysteries and cozies.

**Renee Patrick is the pseudonym for married authors Rosemarie and Vince Keenan. Rosemarie is a research administrator and a poet. Vince is a screenwriter and a journalist. Both native New Yorkers, they currently live in Seattle, Washington.

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